There are two spots on the ATP radar this week as Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem took an early start for their Asian bids. The 20-year-old Zverev got his grip on his first win at Shenzhen Open edging Steve Darcis of Belgium at the end of a high-quality match that came in the vicinity of the three-hours-of-play landmark.

Another Atp 250 event is being held in Chengdu, and it had Dominic Thiem as the first seed of Men's singles contest. The 24-year-old Austrian tennis star was stunned by Guido Pella in round 16. Although the level of expectations has been quite high around these two young players, they tend to underperform when the pressure mounts on their shoulders.

Thiem not ready to dominate a hard court match while Zverev had to dig deeper than initially thought

Back in the spring, as the clay court swing was unfolding on European soil, Dominic Thiem stood up as the only one capable of stopping Rafael Nadal. Practically, he ended up the session as the second best clay court player. But those numbers, including two finals in Madrid and Barcelona, were not enough to propel him through the summer. As in 2016, he went on a downward spiral unable to control his own destiny.

Today's match might have been a single accident, but some recent outcomes revealed a lack of stability on the Austrian side. The recently ended 2017 US Open saw him with a great chance to dig deep at Flushing Meadows. That clash over Juan Martin del Potro should have been the breakthrough in terms of hard court performance.

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Failing to convert those match points took something out of him eventually. Deciding to start the Asian leg earlier made his intentions clear, but once more, he has failed to deliver.

At the other ATP 250 event, the current world No. 4 Alexander Zverev [VIDEO] came within inches to a similar outcome. But, somehow, he managed to extract himself out of the sinkhole to edge Steve Darcis at the end of a thriller match. For Zverev, it was the first official appearance since he lost to Borna Coric in the US Open round of 64.

Alexander Zverev holds the flag of the so-called NextGen

At 20 years of age, the young German star is having a dream run in 2017. Winning two Masters 1000 events helped him to build his ranking structure. He is now inside the top 5 with a shot to finish the year even higher. Andy Murray will lose thousands of point in the next few weeks which almost guarantees Zverev a world No. 3 year's end ranking.

Shenzhen presents an excellent opportunity to gather some momentum prior to the bigger challenges ahead. The Asian swing will reach its boiling point in the next few weeks with two ATP 500 events (Beijing and Tokyo) and Shanghai Rolex Masters to be played.